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HOUSTON—Launching the 2012 season with a bang, junior outside hitter Jessica Jardine led the BYU women’s volleyball team to a 3-0 (25-14, 25-15, 25-12) victory in the team’s season opener on Friday, the first match of the Rice Invitational in Houston.
“We were excited to get out there and finally be able to kick off the 2012 season,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “It’s even better when you can kick it off with a win and a great performance by our team. I thought the girls played consistently well, even when they were down in the first set. They stayed the course and were able to come back and get the win.”
Jardine tallied a career-high 16 kills on .500 hitting, helped out by fellow junior Jennifer Hamson with 13 kills and newcomer Alexa Gray with 11. Heather Hannemann supported at setter with 43 assists, while freshman libero Ciara Parker led the back row with 14 digs. Defensive specialist Tia Withers had 10 digs.
Arkansas State scored first in the opening set, getting a 2-0 head start on BYU. The Cougars caught up on an attack error for a score of 6-5. It was the last time the Red Wolves would have the lead for the rest of the match. With the help of a Jardine kill, BYU tied the score and a then Hamson kill put the Cougars in the lead. BYU put away the first set on a 5-1 run, winning the set 25-14.
The Cougars only recorded one hitting error in the first set, and were led by Jardine and Gray with five kills apiece.
BYU took a quick 6-1 lead in the second set and kept at least a four-point lead through much of the set. A kill by Jardine gave the Cougars their first 10-point lead of the set. Arkansas State never got closer than seven points after that, and BYU went to the locker room for the break with a 2-0 lead.
Five-straight kills by the Cougars, including back-to-back kills by Jardine, put BYU ahead 10-3 at the beginning of the final set. Attack errors didn’t help the Red Wolves’ cause, aiding BYU in a 7-2 run midway through the set. Before long, the Cougars had a 10-point lead again and the end was in sight. Jardine finished off Arkansas State with a kill, assisted by Hannemann.
The Cougars meet Air Force in the first match on Day 2 of the Rice Invitational. The former conference foes face off at 10 a.m. CDT. Live stats are available for the match on the schedule page.
Cougars head to Houston for season opener
PROVO, Utah—Launching its second season under head coach Shawn Olmstead, the BYU women’s volleyball team heads to Houston for the Rice Invitational Friday and Saturday.
The Cougars will face Arkansas State in their season opener. Friday’s 4:30 p.m. CDT match will be only the second time in history the two teams have met, with BYU holding the 1-0 lead. The last time they met was in 1996.
Last season Arkansas State went 20-11 overall and 12-4 in the Sun Belt conference. Allison Kearney, a senior this season, led the offense with 3.50 kills per set in 2011. The team only lost one starter from last season and has three newcomers.
Next on the docket for the Cougars is former Mountain West foe Air Force at 10 a.m. Saturday. The Falcons went 3-27 and 0-14 in conference last season, and BYU leads the series 28-1.
The Cougars finish up the tournament playing against the host, Rice, at 7 p.m. Saturday. The Owls recorded an 18-13 overall record in 2011, placing second in Conference U.S.A. with a 13-7 record. All six starters and the libero will return for Rice in 2012.
With a 2003 victory against the Owls, BYU increased its series lead to 5-0.
In 2011, BYU went 21-9 during the season and 10-6 in its first year as a member of the West Coast Conference. Five starters return for the Cougars.
In the AVCA Preseason Coaches' Poll, BYU received 12 votes.
Links to live stats can be found on the women’s volleyball schedule page. Live streaming is available for the BYU vs. Rice match with a subscription purchase. Links to live streaming are available on the Rice women's volleyball schedule page.